Writing better bad guys

Chuck Wendig has 25 things you should know about antagonists.

What script should you write?

Craig and John tackle a question screenwriters ask themselves at every stage in their careers: of all things I could write, which thing should I write?

Mistakes development executives make

Craig and John skip Comic-Con so they can discuss annoying and unproductive habits of development executives, along with advice for working with screenwriters.

Getting less for your 10%

Gavin Palone looks at why why so many more writers (and directors and actors) in Hollywood are paying the extra money for a manager.

Writing big movies for little screens

Stephen Harrigan reflects on his career writing TV movies of the week.

In which Stuart reads the Save the Cat! books and tells you what he thought

I don’t read books on how to write screenplays, but Stuart does, so I occasionally ask him to write up his impressions. For this round, he tackled the three Save the Cat! books by Blake Snyder.

Setting, perspective and terrible numbers

It’s two parts craft and one part business as Craig and John discuss the alarming earnings report coming out of the WGA, plus a deeper look at setting and POV.

Standing up for ticket-takers

Employees are suing AMC Theaters, arguing that they should be allowed to sit down.

Endings for beginners

John and Craig look at how to write satisfying third acts. That doesn’t necessarily mean a happy ending, but rather one that feels earned.

Pen Names and Divine Intervention

This week, John is a bit under the weather, so Craig takes over moderator duties as they tackle four listener questions.

Verbs are what’s happening

This week’s episode finds Craig and John answering questions about agent etiquette, business cards and those troubling rewrites that unravel everything.

Amazon Studios and the free option

Chip Street looks at why an offer to be featured on the “consider” list must be considered carefully.

Littlest Plot Shop

Craig and John take a look at the difference between plot and story with some help from the Littlest Pet Shop and Game of Thrones.

Is screenwriting dead?

A working screenwriter shares his frustration with how difficult it has become to sustain a career.

20 Questions with John and Craig

John and Craig open the listener mailbag and sprint through twenty questions in just under an hour.

Leaning into the weirdness

I admire the way Happy Endings has morphed from another sorta-like-Friends show to its own weird beast. I wouldn’t want to be friends with any of these narcissistic self-defeating chatterboxes, but I like them together.

Let’s talk about dialogue

Screenwriters can learn story and structure, but the ability to create real, tangible characters is more elusive — and ultimately more important.

Spending a year on Ringer

Jay Faeber writes in with an update on his earlier First Person post, this time detailing his first year on the writing staff of Ringer.

Writer’s block and other romantic myths

John and Craig open the 36th Scriptnotes with a brief discussion about contracts, and then face writer’s block head on.

The Disney Dilemma

John and Craig discuss the small, currently leaderless world of Walt Disney Studios, along with its challenges and opportunities.

Confessions of a trust-fund screenwriter

In response to the discussion Craig and I recently had about the perceptions of nepotism and wealth in the film industry, a listener wrote in to share his experience of being quite literally a trust-fund screenwriter.

Academy screenwriters talk about the craft

Clear a half hour from your schedule, because the Academy has a six-part video series on screenwriters talking about the craft.

How cost-cutting hurt movies

Gregory Poirier argues that movies have suffered because of misguided cost-cutting, and forgetting that screenwriters are the research and development of the film industry.

Umbrage Farms

Craig and John take a brief look at the misguided Girls backlash and complaints about nepotism in Hollywood, before segueing to a bigger discussion of spec scripts and positioning.

Planning for opening titles

Karin Fong compares a great title sequence to raising the curtain before the show. By planning for opening titles at the script stage, you can help get your story started off right.